Vita... da lui medesimo scritta...tratta da un' ottimo manoscritto, e dedicata all' eccellenza di milord Ricardo Boyle conte du Burlington... e cavaliere della giarrettiera.

CELLINI Benvenuto ([1728?])


Available to view at our Curzon Street shop.


4to (257 x 180m.) [16], 318, [2(blank)]p., title printed in red and black, contemporary Italian vellum, red morocco label, some leaves a little soiled at edges, binding somewhat grubby


Colonia, Pietro Martello [Naples, 1728?]

First edition of this important work which had a considerable impact on men of letters and artists. Antonio Cocchi (1695-1758) lurks behind the pseudonym Sebastiano Artopolita who published the book from the autograph manuscript which had since the late 17th century belonged to the Cavalcanti family of Florence, and from which various manuscript copies had been made and were in circulation. Cocchi had been to London in the mid-1720s and would have come within the circle of those known to Burlington like Paolo Rolli (1687-1765) translator of Milton and established in London from 1715. In  1771 the work was published in English in the translation of the Irishman Thomas Nugent, and in 1803 Goethe's German translation appeared.

Richard Boyle, earl of Burlington, and the great amateur of architecture, was in fact nominated to the Order of the Garter on 18 May 1730 and he was installed as such a month later on 18 June. However here he is described on the title-page as being Knight of the Garter, which in [1728], the date normally given to the book, he could not have been. The use of the false imprint 'In Colonia per Pietro Martello' is  an old trick well established in the 17th century for books which are either contrefaçons or somehow of questionable content likely to offend. It might be suggested (as indeed it was by Cicognara) that [Florence] is the place of printing, there being no reason why it should have been printed at Naples. It is perhaps not quite coincidental that this copy was purchased in Florence in 1759.

Provenance: G. Bromfield, 1759, Florence with a manuscript sheet pasted in containing vocabulary notes (Italian-English) taken from Cellini, together with some Sienese words. G may well stand for Guglielmo in which case the man in question is  probably William [Heriot Bromfield (1736-62) elder son of William B. of Holborn, recorded as being in Padua in Februrary 1759 and then in Florence, where he was a member of the academy of botany, and where he studied with Cocchi (see J. Ingamells A Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy 1701-1800, London, 1997 s.v. Bromfield). His father equally was a friend of Cocchi.

Cicognara 3181. (Some copies may have a portrait inserted but it is not an essential part of the book). Parenti, p.58.

Stock Code: 227310

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